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Need to Know: Last look—A tough task for the Redskins in Dallas

Need to Know: Last look—A tough task for the Redskins in Dallas

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 24, 10 days before the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Cowboys 4:30 pm, FOX, Redskins Kickoff 3:30, CSN

Days until: Redskins @ Cardinals 10; Redskins @ Eagles 17; Panthers @ Redskins 25

Injuries of note
Out:
LS Sundberg (back)
Questionable: DE Chris Baker (hamstring/illness), WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

Take it away: The Cowboys have been very sticky fingered all year long but particularly lately. They have just two turnovers in their last four games. A Cowboys takeaway is an ever more unusual occurrence; they have one in their last four games and none in their last three. In their last four games the Redskins have given the ball away four times and they have five takeaways. The Washington offense had no turnovers for the first time this year against the Packers. If the Redskins can keep their grip on the ball and perhaps force one or two takeaways on the Cowboys they will be in pretty good shape.

When you get it, keep it: The Dallas defense has faced just 600 plays this year, an average of 60 per game. Only two teams have faced fewer. Once teams do manage to get the ball after Zeke Elliott’s running and Dak Prescott’s short, accurate passes grind up the clock they move the ball fairly well. They average run 6.4 plays per drive (25th in the NFL) and 34.8 yards per drive (27th). The bottom line is that they allow an average of 1.92 points per drive, in the middle of the pack, 17th in the NFL. In these terms, they are an average to below average defense. The Redskins need to take advantage of that and put together long drives to keep the Dallas offense off the field.

Dez vs. Josh: A year ago, the Panthers thumped the Cowboys and Josh Norman, then with Carolina, helped hold Dez Bryant to two catches for 26 yards. Last September Bryan had a much better day, catching seven for 102. Norman did not follow Bryant from side to side in Week 2 until the fourth quarter in a classic case of locking the barn door after the horse had been stolen. Bryant dealt with injury and he has just 28 receptions on the year. But he has been heating up lately with a combined 12 receptions for 196 yards. Joe Barry should let the cornerbacks play sides to start out; Bashaud Breeland has had some success against Bryant in the past. But if Bryant starts to get on a roll Barry can’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

How will we like them after the game? This is the Redskins’ toughest assignment of the season and it really isn’t close. The Cowboys are on a roll, they are at home, and they are very confident. The Redskins also are hot and confident but they are dealing with a bad matchup. Their rushing defense is one area where the team continues to struggle. I don’t see them stopping, or even slowing down, Elliott running behind that Dallas offensive line. That will make it a tough go because even in a passing league it’s going to be a long day when the other team can run on you. I think the Redskins’ best chance will come if Norman can come through with a big takeaway, maybe a pick six. Since he has managed just one interception this year you can’t count on that happening.

Cowboys 30, Redskins 24

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As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

As injuries linger at WR, Jay Gruden believes a trade might help Redskins

The Dallas Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper on Monday, and with that, alarms go off around the NFL that it's wheeling and dealing season. The trade deadline hits in one week, and for teams looking to bolster their squad before the second half of the year, it's time to see what areas could improve. 

For Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, the injury situation at wide receiver means that his team could use help at the position. 

"We could probably use one more there if we could," Gruden said Monday on the Redskins Talk podcast. 

Asked if there was one area the team could bolster via trade, the coach explained that if wideouts Jamison Crowder or Paul Richardson could come back from injury right away, the Redskins would have no need to trade for another receiver. Unfortunately for the Redskins, neither injury situation is very clear, and some reports show that Crowder could miss a few more weeks working back from an ankle injury. 

"I think if you look at our team right now with the injuries to Crowder and obviously the uncertainty with Richardson you might want to add another receiver, but I like what [Michael] Floyd’s done coming in here," Gruden said. 

Floyd had one catch for 20 yards in the Redskins win on Sunday over the Cowboys, but he's a physical veteran that has the coach excited. Gruden also complimented what Maurice Harris and Brian Quick have done in the absence of Richardson and Crowder.

While the Cowboys struck first in the receiver trade market, more players remain reportedly available, including Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas and Dolphins WR DeVante Parker. 

Thomas is a five-time Pro Bowler in Denver, but at 30 years old and with some trade value, it makes sense for John Elway to consider his market. The Broncos are 3-4 and have an underperforming offense. 

Parker was a first-round pick in 2015 but has not had a 1,000-yard season in Miami. Making matters more complicated, Parker's agent Jimmy Gould called Dolphins head coach Adam Gase "incompetent" to a host of different media outlets. Parker has only been active twice this season though he contends health is not an issue. 

Gruden remains confident that 2016 first-round pick Josh Doctson will get going, and he is a similar big target as Thomas and Parker. Should Richardson miss significant time, the Redskins would lack a true speed threat.

There's certainly no clear indication that Washington will make a move before the NFL trade deadline, but as things stand now with injuries, there is a need. Remember, too, the Redskins are long on 2019 draft picks with 10 selections in seven rounds.



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A day after loss to Redskins, Cowboys trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper

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A day after loss to Redskins, Cowboys trade for Raiders WR Amari Cooper

The Dallas Cowboys are in desperate need of a playmaking wide receiver. The lack of talent at wide receiver has been evident throughout the first seven weeks of the 2018 NFL season, with wide receivers accounting for just five of the Cowboys' eight passing touchdowns.

Following the 20-17 loss to the Redskins on Sunday, the Cowboys decided to make a quick fix, trading a 2019 first-round pick to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for star wide receiver Amari Cooper, according to multiple reports.

Cooper, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, has just 22 catches for 280 yards and one touchdown in the first six games. The former Alabama star had an equally disappointing 2017 campaign and has grown frustrated with his role in John Gruden's new regime.

Cooper will instantly become the Cowboys best deep threat and will allow Cole Beasley to shine both in the slot and spread out wide. Beasley leads the Cowboys with 33 receptions for 350 yards and two touchdowns.

Rookie Michael Gallup, who scored the Cowboys' only passing touchdown against the Redskins, has the second most targets among Dallas receivers, hauling in 10 of his 22 targets for 190 yards. Tight end Geoff Swaim has 19 catches for 205 yards and running back Ezekiel Elliott has 25 catches for 175 yards.

Prescott is averaging just 202.2 passing yards per game, and while Cooper may not be a true top-tier wide receiver, he is the next best thing and will allow the offense to be more dynamic in its play-calling.

Cooper will make an estimated $13.9 million in base salary in 2019, meaning the Cowboys will have to pay a pretty penny to keep him.

The move makes it clear that the Raiders are shifting toward a full rebuild. It also shows that Dallas understands it didn't have enough firepower to compete for a divisional title.

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